Confronted with clear evidence that she tried to obstruct justice in the case of Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman — two former top AIPAC officials slated to go on trial for espionage on June 2 — Rep. Jane Harman, a California Democrat, did what politicians usually do when forced to face unpleasant facts: she brazened it out. In a response to the Congressional Quarterly piece by Jeff Stein that has proved such an entertaining embarrassment, she brayed:
These claims are an outrageous and recycled canard, and have no basis in fact. I never engaged in any such activity. Those who are peddling these false accusations should be ashamed of themselves.
Notice how she doesn’t deny saying that she would engage in any such activity, i.e. that she would intervene with the Bush White House and the Justice Department to get the charges in the Rosen-Weissman case reduced or dropped — instead, she says she never kept her promise to the suspected Israeli agent, as the CQ piece described her interlocutor. What? A politician who breaks a promise? I’m shocked! — shocked!
Seriously, though, from this one might infer that Harman is utterly shameless, but, then again, maybe not. On Wednesday night, she showed up at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s glitzy Welcome to Washington event, although, as Roll Call reported, she kept a low profile. [Heard on the Hill] spotted the Congresswoman entering the theater in darkness just after the curtain went up, and then saw her slip out while performers gave their final bows.
As Shakespeare put it in Cymbelline:
Though those that are betrayed
Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor
Stands in worse case of woe.
Could it be that Harman does have a sense of shame — or was she just trying to avoid reporters?
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.